Feature

What storage managers are buying and why

Is iSCSI turning a corner?
While the overall buying plan for iSCSI technology was unchanged in last spring's tallies, there was a striking change in how companies plan to use iSCSI- based systems (see "Planned iSCSI deployments," at right). In both the earlier survey and the most recent one, 31% of companies indicated plans to implement iSCSI. Last spring's number represents a significant jump in interest in iSCSI, and the current number suggests companies are carrying through on their buying plans.

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Because iSCSI is easier to install and less expensive than Fibre Channel it remains more popular among SMBs, with 35% of midsized companies and 34% of smaller firms saying they're implementing iSCSI systems. Only 24% of large organizations say they're on the iSCSI bandwagon.

However, the strongest indicator that iSCSI storage may be approaching some level of maturity is the types of applications it now hosts. While iSCSI is still used primarily for end-user storage and backup, more companies are starting to use it for their mission-critical applications and e-mail. Forty-two percent say they'll deploy mission-critical apps on iSCSI vs. 30% only six months ago (see "iSCSI SAN applications," at right). Similarly, e-mail is gaining favor as an iSCSI app, with 37% indicating they'll deploy their e-mail on iSCSI storage--a nine percentage point jump from last spring.

Creative Benefits' Taylor didn't opt for an all-iSCSI array in his move from DAS, but he did the next best thing. "We went with a mix and got iSCSI and Fibre Channel," says Taylor, describing the dual-protocol capabilities of his Compellent system, although he may not be quite confident enough of iSCSI performance to put the company's key apps on it. "Our main production stuff is on the Fibre Channel," says Taylor, "and anything that's back end is running on iSCSI."

This was first published in October 2006

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